Cronulla Sharks vs North Queensland Cowboys highlights: NRL live scores, blog

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    Sharks vs Cowboys

    NRL, 18 May, 2017

    Southern Cross Group Stadium
    Fulltime - Sharks 18, Cowboys 14
    Sharks   Cowboys
    18 FINAL SCORE 14
    3 TRIES 3
    Referee: Ashley Klein
    Touch judges: Nick Beashel & Chris Sutton
    Video Referee: Bernard Sutton

    The Cronulla Sharks might be winning, but they haven’t been anywhere near their best and that will need to change when they play a fast-improving North Queensland Cowboys outfit. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:50pm (AEST).

    There is no question the Sharks have been below their best throughout 2017, yet worryingly for the rest of the competition, they still sit in second place on the ladder.

    It leaves them behind only the Melbourne Storm with a record of seven wins and three losses. The reigning premiers have played well when they needed to and it could be argued their only complete performance was away from home against the Storm.

    They beat the St George-Illawarra Dragons last weekend with a couple of late tries, but again the Sharks struggled for ball control, making 14 errors and completing just 23 of 34 sets.

    The Sharks defence has been their strongest suit this season and it’s no surprise they have the best record in the competition. Poor execution in attack is where Cronulla have struggled, and if that starts flowing they may well be close to unbeatable.

    While it’s a credit to Shane Flanagan’s side that they came away with victory last week despite their inconsistency, Cronulla are not playing fantastically and they may get caught out against a Cowboys side who went from terrible to fantastic last week.

    It did help they were playing a very poor Canterbury Bulldogs outfit with fullback Lachlan Coote and hooker Jake Granville returning to the side.

    Before that match, I wrote about how they would take pressure off an out-of-form Michael Morgan, and that’s exactly what happened. Morgan had his best game of the season, while Coote and Granville made an immediate difference to the Cowboys’ attack.

    While the Sharks will produce a different defensive effort to Canterbury and the Cowboys are still likely to be without Johnathan Thurston, they will be buoyed by their 14-point victory as well as a need to keep winning before Origin given Paul Green’s side sit in sixth place with six wins from ten.

    Another victory here should push them ahead of the chasing pack and lock down their spot in the top eight before the Origin window begins and the Cowboys lose some high-quality players.

    The big question is whether Thurston will play. It’s unlikely, but he wasn’t cut from the reserves list 24 hours before the game and has travelled to Sydney with the team.

    If he does play, you would have to think he will be underdone. Thurston doesn’t put in many bad performances, but a tough Cronulla defence could bring one out of him.

    The Sharks have risen when needed this year and should pick up a tough win at home.

    Sharks by 4.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the match from 7:50pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment below.

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (174)

    The Roar Live Blog: Latest comments displayed at the top of the page | Click here to jump to leave a comment

    • 9:30am
      JCow said | 9:30am | ! Report

      2 Things lost this game for the cowboys!

      1) Obstruction on Maloney’s try – which if the ref’s were being consistent should have been a penalty. He made contact with the defender. And the only reason he came into contact with the inside shoulder of the defender is because Hess tried at the last minute to get on the outside of him. Either way. contact and should have been called

      2) Inability of Thompson and Coote to complete a kick at the end of sets, sent the sharks up our end twice and scored on both times! Inexcusable mistakes by two play makers who should know how to close a game out better.

      Three tries – game changed!

      • 12:30pm
        Fish said | 12:30pm | ! Report

        I didn’t think that was an obstruction JCow. It was always on the outside shoulder, Hess was too gassed to compete and tried for the obstruction in my opinion.

        I think the game changed momentum with a referee call. The penalty called by Shortall for too long in the tackle early in the second half when Kline was actually standing over the play, was a rough call and led to the first of the Sharks tries. They had only just hit the ground and the whistle was shrilling. Changed the momentum completely.

        However you must make tackles and complete sets to win matches. The Cowboys struggled all game in the centre to make tackles, and Fafita toyed with their clumsiness like he was playing under twelves. The two missed fifth tackle kicks were telling, and the lack of flexibility of coach Green to alter a game plan on the run hurt the Cowboys badly.

        Five things from that game:

        1. Fafita is a game changer, for good or bad. Is he too expensive an option to wear blue?

        2. Paul Green is still new to coaching. His lack of flexibility during the changing of momentum in the second half reminded everyone of his lack of experience in the top level of league. Granville should of come on at least five minutes earlier to try and wrestle back the momentum, and Hess was completely gassed and Lowe needed to be back on out wide. I believe the errors in the coaching box were more detrimental to the outcome of the game than the on field errors themselves.

        3. Wade Graham is a sure bet for the Blues. An outstanding talent as a junior is now bearing fruit as a senior. His ability to read play and his all round game makes him the most dangerous back rower in the game.

        4. Take a bow Scott Bolton. Has huge responsibility and to run out over 150m and 38 tackles in the middle against a brutal pack just shows that he has a big heart. Lolo may get a lot of justified credit, but Bolton is surely the unsung hero in an injury ravaged side.

        5. Sharks loss is Broncos gain. Jack Bird is in fantastic form. His name is already on Daleys list. I can not wait to see what Bennett can extract from this wonderful talent. He is a pure center, hopefully they do not make him a make shift half.

        Overall a good game with plenty of entertainment for all.

    • 10:06pm
      jamesb said | 10:06pm | ! Report

      Well done Sharkies. Good comeback. The Cows can still play without JT. But obviously they need to learn on how to close a game out.

      And this #beaniesforbraincancer round should become an annual thing for the NRL. Cricket may be our national game and football is the world game. But Rugby League is all about the community.

      • Roar Rookie

        Conan of Cooma said | 8:34am | ! Report

        That’s a sterling idea, but will the NRL understand that a community focus is the way to progress the game?

    • 9:57pm
      Rob said | 9:57pm | ! Report

      Sharks had to much muscle in the middle and off the bench. Hampton should not be playing in my opinion. Cowboys were destroyed up the middle and it was predictable after the Eels loss. Jensen and Leary are far better opposition off the bench considering the lack of front row depth.
      The game came down to goal kicks and some poor last plays. Fafita was a handful and players down want to tackle his rib cage.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 9:48pm | ! Report

      Full match report to follow on site soon.

      Thanks for joining me this evening on The Roar for our live coverage of the 2017 NRL Season as the Cronulla Sharks picked up a victory over the North Queensland Cowboys. Hopefully you enjoyed the call.

      I’ll be back from 6pm (AEST) tomorrow as the New Zealand Warriors host the St George Illawarra Dragons.

      Bye for now.

    • 9:44pm
      Roberto said | 9:44pm | ! Report

      Congrats Scott, you called it by 4.
      Sharks defence won it for them, their up and in your face hits just scared the Cows into submission.

    • 9:43pm
      Jimmmy said | 9:43pm | ! Report

      What a feast Lolo and Fifita. Running forwards at their best.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 9:41pm | ! Report

      Well, I don’t often get them right, so I’ll claim this one! Sharks win by four, and would you take a look at my pre-match prediction!

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 9:40pm | ! Report

      Thoughts on the game Roarers?

      • Roar Guru

        Renegade said | 9:50pm | ! Report

        Enjoyed that game Scott, was a good one… good call as well mate!

        • Roar Guru

          Scott Pryde said | 9:53pm | ! Report

          Yeah Renegade – Really enjoyed that game. High intensity, physical. Had all the qualities of a great one.

          Cheers mate!

          I’ll be around tomorrow trying to hide my rage if the Dragons struggle! Ha!

        • Roar Rookie

          William Dalton Davis said | 9:58pm | ! Report

          Great game. Would’ve been real easy for the Sharks to put that one in the loss column it was looking like one of those nights. By my reckoning 4 of the last 6 NRL matches have involved a 12 point plus comeback. Wonder if it’s a sign of teams putting the cue away too early or simply running out of puff. Something tells me we’re in for a wild and whacky second half of the season.

      • 10:14pm
        Mike said | 10:14pm | ! Report

        Cowboys played really well in the first half but slacked off intensity in the second they didn’t match it with the Sharks who have a tendency to up their game in the 50-70 minute marks. Gallen and Fifita had a big impact when they came on for their second stints. He doesn’t get a lot of rap but I think Joseph Paulo played well when he came on. Every single game his been in this year, the Sharks have won.

        For the Cowboys, Taumalolo played awesome his intensity is really good and so scary when his in the opposing 50m. Coote was safe at fullback and took every single ball that went his way, good job. It’s unfortunate that Thurston was out, had he bee on it probably would have been the difference. Good game.

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